In 2020, the Orchestra musicians at the Royal Opera House took a 10% pay cut to help the financial situation of the company during the pandemic when the Royal Opera House was closed. The recent campaign has seen them calling on management to account for their loss.
A powerful example of how a successful outcome can be achieved when members organise and stand firm
The pay and conditions offer was accepted via a clear majority of the Orchestra members in a strong voter turnout and is a significant step forward in securing their pay levels. In the Union’s view, this is a landmark solution for the year. It also recognises, in part via contractual improvements, MU members’ justifiable concerns about work/life balance.
This result is a credit to the courage and resolve of all MU members in the Orchestra and a powerful example of how a successful outcome can be achieved when members organise and stand firm, even in the face of great pressure.
MU officials would like to thank the Union Steward, Nigel Charman, and the members of the OROH players’ committee for their determination and many hours of hard work.
During a number of recent performances, the musicians have been taking ‘action short of a strike’ to draw attention to their fight including wearing campaign T-shirts instead of their usual concert dress.
This action was demonstration of the determination of our members
MU London Regional Organiser Jamie Pullman said: “We are pleased to see that the situation was recognised by the management, resulting in the current offer.
“We have been in negotiations for many months and our members felt they had to make a public demonstration of their frustration. They all love the Royal Opera House and want it to flourish, but they were also having to work double the number of weekends that they used to, and in cash terms they were earning less than they did in 2015.
“This situation could not continue, and the action was a demonstration of the determination of our members to ensure changes happen.”
Timeline and highlights from the campaign